STEWARDS OF THE LAND.....

STEWARDS OF THE LAND.....
.....A view from "down the lane" ....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lean Beef: A Nutrition Powerhouse, Part II

Think of eating lean beef as taking a multi-vitamin. It's that complex and it's that healing. It's been given such a bad rap that it is unfortunate, for there are many people in the U.S. who are getting insufficient amounts of healthful minerals, vitamins, protein, and iron. Few other sources of protein offer such a compound of positive nutrition -- and in the fight for good health and diet, lean beef is and can be an important element.

Without a doubt, lean beef is an effective way to energize and feed the body. In the American diet, beef remains number one in providing protein, zinc and vitamin B12. It is number two in providing vitamin B6, which is more and more being studied for its positive effects in the battle against breast cancer.

Beef also provides 38% of the RDA for Zinc; 37% of the RDA for Vitamin B12, 26% for Selenium, and 20% for Phosphorus. And eating lean beef is a substantial source of Iron and Niacin, providing 14% of the RDA for Iron and 17% of the RDA for Niacin.

In addition, the iron in beef is heme iron, which is more readily absolrbed by the body than iron derived from other foods, particularly plant sources. Heme iron also enhances the absorption of iron from these other sources, so it works in two ways.

Lean beef is considered nutrient dense, meaning that eating beef is a great way to make calories count. A 3 oz. serving of lean beef contributes less than 10% of the calories in a 2,000-calorie diet, and clocks in at around 180 calories. The same serving of roasted chicken, without skin, has 162 carolories.

Beef's protein is found to be more satisfying than carbohydrates, which augment dieting and good health, and can boost muscle and athletic performance. The zinc in beef is important in the cognitive performance in children. Iron deficiency has been found to be significant in young children in this country and is associated with cognitive delays in children. Vitamin B12 assists in the formation of red blood cells, and is being looked at in the fight against Alzheimer's. Niacin helps promote energy and promotes healthy skin, nerves, and digestive system. Vitamin B6 is important in maintaining the immune system.

There's another common misperception about beef, and that is that majority of beef's fatty acids are bad fats, or saturated. In reality, beef contains various amounts of saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Half the fatty acids in lean beef are monounsaturated, which is the same heart-healthy type found in olive oil.

Plus, about 1/3 of beef's total saturated fat is stearic acid, which has been shown to have a neutral effect on blood cholesterol levels in humans.

Finally, the amount of fatty acids that can potentially raise blood cholesterol levels in lean beef is actually comparable to those levels in fish and chicken.

In conclusion, Calorie-for-calorie, beef is one of the best protein sources of essential B-complex vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12.

In addition:
• Riboflavin, niacin and thiamin are three key vitamins in
  beef that help keep you going by unleashing energy from
  the protein, carbohydrates and fats that you eat.

• Riboflavin also helps promote healthy skin, eyes and
  clear vision. To get the same amount of riboflavin found
in a 3 oz. serving of beef, you'd need to consume more
  than two 3 oz. chicken breasts.

• Thiamin also helps promote normal appetite and
  contributes to normal nervous system function.

• Vitamin B12, found only in animal food products, helps
  produce red blood cells. A 3 oz. serving of beef
  provides 37% of the Daily Value.

• Vitamin B6, along with B12, may play a role in preventing
stroke and heart disease. A 3 oz. serving of beef provides
15% of the Daily Value.